High School: Jabari Parker

Jabari ParkerJonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJabari Parker might have gone to Illinois if John Groce had more time to recruit him.
Simeon coach Robert Smith believes Illinois' John Groce is on the right path as far as recruiting top talent out of Chicago.

In fact, Smith believes if Groce had been hired sooner, he might have had a shot at Jabari Parker.

Groce replaced Bruce Weber, who was fired, after the 2011-2012 season. Parker was already cutting his list of schools and eliminated Illinois from his choices. Parker had a good relationship with Weber, who had been recruiting him for years, but the uncertainty of change didn't sit well with the top recruit. Parker ultimately committed to Duke over BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.

Parker's teammates, Simeon senior guards Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn, are both signed to play at Illinois next season.

"If Illinois had hired John Groce earlier, they would have had chance with Jabari," Smith said. "He was hired too late and Jabari was already looking at other schools. He wanted to play for his home state and win a national championship here.

"[I think Groce had a chance with Parker] because of his personality, him as a coach -- he let his players play -- and his charisma. I know Jaylon and Kendrick love him as a coach and person. I think that has a lot to do with them going there."

Smith believes those characteristics that will lead to Groce receiving future commitments from Chicago's premier players. One of the biggest criticisms of Weber was he failed to retain the state's top talent. Derrick Rose, Jon Scheyer, Sherron Collins, Evan Turner and Julian Wright chose to play out of state during Weber's Illinois tenure.
Curie forward Cliff Alexander, who is ranked No. 8 in the Class of 2014, is currently one of Illinois' main recruiting targets.

"I think it can happen with Cliff and getting him there and some of the other guys over there," Smith said. "I think Illinois has a real chance in the next three or four years to really do some things. I could see them go to the Final Four and possibly win a national championship in the next three or four years.

"It's just like the vision I had for Illinois when I was interested in the job. It's playing out without me being there. Coach Groce is doing a great job with that."

Groce was given a one-year contract extension and salary raise after this past season. He led Illinois to a 23-13 record, 8-10 in the Big Ten and to the NCAA tournament in his first year.

Groce's 2013 recruiting class is ranked No. 15 by ESPN. The class includes Nunn, Tate, small forward Malcolm Hill, power forward Austin Colbert and center Maverick Morgan. Illinois will also add three transfers -- Seton Hall sophomore guard Aaron Cosby, Illinois State junior forward Jon Ekey and Western Michigan forward Darius Paul.

Final 2013 ESPN 100 player rankings

May, 1, 2013

Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle remain on top of the final ESPN 100 for the Class of 2013.

See the final rankings here.

Smith passes on college to stay at Simeon

April, 22, 2013
Simeon Career Academy coach Robert Smith said Monday he has decided to bypass college coaching opportunities to make a run at a fifth consecutive Illinois state title with the Wolverines next season.

Smith has accumulated a 260-40 record, won six state titles and had one runner-up finish in nine seasons with Simeon. He said after the high school season he would consider leaving Simeon for a college assistant position.

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Jabari Parker ends prep career to big cheers

April, 4, 2013

CHICAGO -- Jabari Parker threw down a baseline dunk. He dished out a few assists. He grabbed a few rebounds. He made a few steals and blocked a few shots.

On the court Wednesday, Parker was being Parker as he displayed his all-around game and showed why he’s been considered one of the premier high school players in the country for much of his career.

But when Parker and most people think back of his McDonald’s All American Game experience, what they’ll remember isn’t Parker’s West team winning 110-99 or anything he did during the actual game. It’ll be the memory of his introduction before the game at the United Center.

[+] EnlargeJabari Parker
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhWednesday's McDonald's All-American Game at the United Center was a homecoming of sorts for Chicago's Jabari Parker, who said he wanted to "represent the city of Chicago on the way."
With the lights out and the spotlight on and after every other player already on the floor, Parker was announced as being from Simeon Career Academy and Chicago. The welcoming decibels were well beyond those of anyone before him.

It was the perfect reception for the hometown Duke commit Parker, a four-time state champion and two-time Mr. Basketball who is No. 2 in the ESPN 100 ranking index.

“It was like homecoming,” Parker explained after the game. “It’s just a homecoming day for me, see everybody out there. You know we can celebrate. I know I represent all the high school players, so that’s all I wanted to do. Be there and represent the city of Chicago on the way.”

Whitney Young High School junior center and fellow Chicagoan Jahlil Okafor, the nation’s No. 1 junior, was just as moved by the fans’ love for Parker.

“Seeing the crowd embrace him as they did, he deserves it more than anybody,” Okafor said. “Seeing everybody cheer that loud, I was really happy and just put like chills down my body. It’s something I can work hard for and maybe I can experience that next year.”

It was nearly the same feeling for Ronnie Fields, a former McDonald’s All American from Chicago, who was attending his first McDonald’s game in nearly 20 years.

“I was so happy,” said Fields, who was a McDonald’s All American in 1996. “I was waiting for him to come out.”

“To see the city continue to breed these guys out, it just made me proud,” he said. “You go down the list. We got Jabari. We got Derrick Rose. We got Okafor coming. That goes back to Isiah Thomas. The list goes on and on.”

Parker was thought to be playing his final game in Chicago for the foreseeable future, but he hinted at another game, possibly meaning a Duke game in Chicago next season. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski did bring Jon Scheyer back to play before his hometown Chicago crowd, and that also could be the case for Parker, who is expected to spend just one season in college before bolting for the NBA.

Whether or not Parker will be back in Chicago next year, he left a bit of everything on the floor Wednesday. He had 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, two blocks; didn’t allow anything easy to No. 1-ranked Andrew Wiggins (uncommitted; from Canada by way Huntington Prep in West Virginia); and came out on the victorious side, just as he did throughout his career.
All in all, Parker realized his hometown experience was unique at this game.

“I know I’ve been spoiled a little bit more being in Chicago and playing at the United Center,” Parker said. “This was a great experience.”

McDonald's matchups to watch

April, 2, 2013
In an all-star showcase, which team wins the game is often secondary. But which players win their individual matchups -- now that's another story. So to get you prepped for the McDonald's All American Game (Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN), we've ranked the top five matchups to watch during the contest.

With bragging rights and sometimes rankings on the line, you can bet these high-level one-on-one battles will be intense and will provide must-see TV. Here's what you need to know.

Read the entire story. Insider

Jabari Parker repeats as Mr. Basketball

March, 25, 2013
Jabari Parker AP Photo/Cal Sport MediaSimeon's Jabari Parker was named Illinois Mr. Basketball for the second straight year.

Simeon senior forward Jabari Parker was announced as the first two-time Illinois Mr. Basketball winner on Monday.

Parker, a Duke recruit, won the award, which is voted on by statewide media and schools, with 315 points and 43 first-place votes, the Chicago Tribune announced on Monday. Parker was the first non-senior to win the award last season.

“It means a lot,” Parker said on Monday. “I worked extremely hard to get back (from my foot injury) and help my team the best I could. I don’t care about the individual awards, but it’s a reflection on my team. Having somebody from Simeon win it again means a lot.”

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Simeon's Parker wins Wootten player of year

March, 18, 2013
CHICAGO -- Simeon Career Academy senior forward and Duke recruit Jabari Parker was named the Morgan Wootten Male Player of the Year during a news conference Monday at the Ronald McDonald House.

Read the entire story.

Biancardi's Breakdown: Jabari Parker

March, 12, 2013

Now that No. 2 senior prospect Jabari Parker is back to full health, has his college decision behind him and is chasing a fourth consecutive state title, Paul Biancardi re-examines what makes Parker such a unique and talented player as his high school career winds to a close and why he’ll be able to make an immediate impact at Duke next year.

Read the entire story here.

Big matchups highlight Jordan Classic

February, 12, 2013

There’s no arguing the quality of this year’s Jordan Brand Classic rosters, which were announced on Tuesday. The game is stocked with 22 players, and that means some of the fat has been trimmed off the event.

Read the entire story here.

Simeon retires numbers of Parker, Nunn

February, 1, 2013
Jabari ParkerMark L. Baer/USA TODAY SportsJabari Parker will be the last Simeon player to wear No. 22.
CHICAGO -- Chicago Simeon Career Academy forward Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 2 senior and a Duke recruit, has accomplished what few before him have in their high school careers. The latest came during Simeon's final home game of the season on Jan. 25 when the school retired Parker's No. 22 jersey and guard Kendrick Nunn's No. 20 while both players are still active.

[+] EnlargeKendrick Nunn
Scott Powers,/ESPNChicago.comSimeon guard Kendrick Nunn is headed to Illinois.
Parker and Nunn, who is ranked No. 59 in the nation and is an Illinois recruit, have played for Simeon's varsity team all four years and have led the Wolverines to three consecutive state championships and one Chicago Public League title. They also won gold medals while playing together for Team USA in 2011 and 2012.

Parker and Nunn each were given their Simeon jersey in a glass case prior to their final home game. They joined Derrick Rose, Bobby Simmons and Ben Wilson as the lone players to have their number retired at Simeon.

"We thought about it last year and their legacies -- the possibility of having a fourth state title, both playing for USA, Jabari being national player of the year, maybe being player of the year again, Kendrick committing to Illinois," Simeon coach Robert Smith said on Friday. "Derrick brought Simeon back up, and they kept it up. It's solely on their backs.

"It was something where we thought about bringing them back after they've gone to college, but I just thought it was fitting for the careers. They've left that mark to do it right away."

It's the latest honor for Parker. As a junior, he was named the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year, Illinois' Mr. Basketball and the national Gatorade Player of the Year. He was also the 2011 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.

"He's shocked; he's happy they honored him," Parker's father Sonny Parker said on Friday. "He's been through a whole lot being the first freshman to start on varsity. He's had a really good career the last three years. It was a great moment for him to be recognized as one of the great players that came from Simeon and played there."

Nunn has been Parker's wingman the past three seasons and emerged as the team's leader and go-to man when Parker was injured earlier this season.

"In our eyes, we think he's a top Top-15 kid in the country, especially when he's playing well," Smith said of Nunn. "He knew Jabari was banged up, and Kendrick was banged up too, but he decided to go out there and play through it until Jabari came back. He hasn't made any excuses and just played."

Simeon is 18-2 this season and ranked No. 9 in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings. The Wolverines are undefeated against in-state opponents this season.
No. 2 senior Jabari Parker and No. 2 junior Jahlil Okafor, whose teams met in a highly anticipated Chicago showdown over the weekend, have different games but share many of the same intangibles that make them successful.

Read the entire story here.

When national No. 4 Chicago Whitney Young and No. 11 Chicago Simeon meet on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU, it may prove to be the most intense battle of the high school basketball season, featuring nationally ranked rivals with rosters full of future college stars like No. 2 senior Jabari Parker and No. 2 junior Jahlil Okafor.

Read the entire story here.

Dave Telep updates his impressions of top players and teams in the aftermath of the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

Video: Top Hoophall Classic performers

January, 22, 2013

Paul Biancardi and Dave Telep break down the top game and top performers from the Hoophall Classic: No. 7 senior Aaron Gordon and No. 2 senior Jabari Parker.

Video: Parker previews W. Young game

January, 22, 2013

No. 2 senior and Duke commit Jabari Parker talks to Phil Murphy after a big night against Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). Parker discusses how Simeon can stay hot on national television Saturday against crosstown rival Whitney Young.